I’ve been sucked into the love surrounding U.S. Women’s National Team great Heather O’Reilly (HAO) in the last few weeks. She announced following the 2016 Rio Olympics that she would be retiring from the USWNT. We often get sucked into the drama or the players that want the spotlight most. HAO played for the team for 14 years and had 230 caps, seventh on the list of names like Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett and more.
I can’t stress it enough – 230 games – in 14 years. She was a 17 when she first stepped on the field at the Algarve Cup with a team of greats – like some of the names I listed above. She played in three consecutive World Cups from 2007 to 2015 and three Olympics from 2004 to 2012. She’s only ever showed resilience and passion for the game.
We all remember the HAO celebration faces or her game face. They are the best! Pure emotion. My favorite HAO goal ever was in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. I was standing behind that goal, waiting for something to happen. Pure talent!
“I want to say a big thank you to all five of the coaching staffs that I have played under on the USWNT for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to wear the crest for so long. And to my past and current USWNT teammates, I don’t think I will ever be able to sufficiently put into words what being a member of this team has meant to me. I grew up on this team. We have experienced joy and heartbreak together, and every emotion in between. We have grinded it out together so many days when no one was watching, and we have carried the heart of the nation when everyone was. Thank you, gals, for the amazing ride.” – HAO
Take a look through the hashtag #ThanksHAO and take in the love and respect for Heather. Excited and sad to see her take the field for the last time with the national squad tonight in Columbus at 8 p.m. against Thailand. Follow me on Twitter on the WUFC account for all the action from the match tonight. — Stephanie…